New Jersey Museums CV-6 USS Enterprise Artifact and the father of the submarine. Rivervale and Patterson NJ in northern NJ « Prev1Next »

This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules


Airman 1st Class
I'll post these as they are small museums many of us will never get to see. I don't know how many menbers are in the area of South Jersey but maybe this fall we could have a meet up to tour a couple if Covid does not shut things down again.

While the site is primarily aircraft focused I see it does branch a bit into ships, AFV's and other militaria. I found this artifact of the Enterprise a while back and thought TY ( my son and navigator) and I would take a ride up the NJ turnpike to see it and a few other things in the area. NJ is not all Snookie, the Sopranos and garbage dumps....... So while I'm listing things to see in NJ for those with our interests this one seems to be a good fit. I'll let the mods decide.

The WWII USS Enterprise CV 6 needs no introduction here. Enterprise earned 20 battle stars, the most for any U.S. warship in World War II, and was the most decorated U.S. ship of World War II. Sometimes the only carrier available in the Pacific during critical moments in late 1942 and early 1943. After wars end Admiral Halsey could not generate enough interest to save her as a museum ship, the navy did not want to convert her to a helo or amphib support ship as they did a few CVL/CVE post war so she went to the cutting torch at the end of the 50's. A man who worked on that effort to scrap her, knowing her history saved some artifacts. In particular he saved her stern plate with the name. That plate ended up in River Vale NJ where it was at a ball field and later moved to the towns veterans memorial park. There is a story the score boards from the hanger deck were also saved but they have not been seen since the 1960's and probably went to the scrap yard long ago. It's a small memorial park listing the names of River Vale NJ residents who served in all the wars including the Spanish american war to Desert Storm and beyond. WWI and WWII are interesting as you can see several sets of what I assumed were brothers all listed as serving and in a few cases at least one dying in action.


After this we stopped in Patterson NJ, the last place you would expect to see a US national park. In 1792, Paterson was established. America's first planned industrial city championed by Alexander Hamilton who wanted americans to industrialize after seeing the impact of having little to no manufacturing base had during the revolution. Patterson was centered around the Great Falls of the Passaic River to take advantage of water power. The waterfall is rather impressive and the remaining buildings and museum just 1 block away, but not part of the NPS site are very nice.

It is free to get into all of this and well worth the trip. A lot to see historically . If you go, do watch the short films in the small visitor center. The abandoned sports stadium adjacent to the park has a history all its own. I wanted to see the falls and the Holland submarines that were supposed to be in the museum. The sub was indeed there as was Hollands first effort at a sub. This is not where you expect to find a submarine. It turned out the father of the american submarine John P Holland was buried close by so we stopped by to see the grave. These old cemeteries from the turn of the century can be interesting in themselves.


The Patterson museum next ot the falls On the weekends they are only open 12:30 to 4:30 . They were having some sort of staff meeting and I could not get as close to the exhibits and the data boards as I wanted. I finally walked behind one of the tables as they were not conducting any museum business but seemed to be just generally talking and socializing. Ty and I left for a while and came back after lunch hoping to get closer. A docent said oh they will be there until we close. IMO they should not let staff block access to exhibits. The old locomotive assembly building is massive and they have the entire 2nd floor to meet as there appear to be offices up there but no exhibits.

Holland actually got the sub to the point were it would run at about 9 knots surfaced. Submerged the sub had a limited running capability as it ran on the air from the crew's compartment. Once submerged the hull was pressurized to the same level as the surrounding water. If they did not do this the back pressure from the water outside the hull would prevent the Brayton engine from starting and running. As you could imagine this was not the most practical solution and John Holland planned to install a dedicated compressed air reservoir to feed air to the engine while running submerged.

The Fenian Ram's weapon was a pneumatic gun, which would shoot a projectile out of a muzzle in the bow. Initially there were serious problems with the gun as the projectile would take a sharp turn upwards and leap out of the water. John Holland solved this by drilling a hole near the muzzle of the barrel that would allow the charge of compressed air behind the projectile to vent through the hole preventing the column of air from kicking the bottom of the projectile down and shooting it up.

At one point during the submarine's ongoing development there was a dispute about money with the Fenians, and late one night the Fenians stole the sub and towed it to Connecticut. The Fenians were never able to get it working themselves and Holland would not help them so from there it sat in a warehouse. If you've done some research on this sub you may have seen passages stating the Brayton Piston Engine was removed to power a mill. That is not true. The Brayton engine is still there, but the air compressor is missing. The sub is a neat exhibit and a remarkable feat of engineering considering that time in history. The sub is certainly a lot more impressive and well preserved inside the Museum than out in Passaic Park. The Paterson Museum staff have done a great job of both preserving and displaying this historic vessel.


You can visit the Submarine Fenian Ram and John Holland's first submarine at the city of Paterson Museum in Paterson, NJ. The Fenian Ram is the first practical submarine, in that it was able to run on its own power using its 2 cylinder Brayton oil engine and dive and submerge successfully. This sub was actually commissioned by the Irish Fenian Brotherhood, an anti-British Irish group that planned to use it to sink British shipping in an effort to get the Brits out of Ireland. John Holland was happy to take their cash as it funded his research on the development of an even more practical submarine.

The propeller, diving planes, and conning tower porthole of John Holland's Submarine #1 were all fabricated by the staff of the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum in New York City while the sub was displayed there for 3 years. John Holland stripped the originals off the hull before intentionally scuttling it in the Passaic River. According to the museum this was done to prevent anyone else being able to use the sub.

The Holland I, 14 feet long by 3 feet across by 4 feet high and weighing 2.25 tons, was built at the iron works on Albany Street in New York City and moved to the machine shop of L.C. Todd company in Paterson in the spring of 1878. Here, a petroleum engine patented in 1874 by George Brayton was installed for propulsion. Trials of the craft were conducted in the Passaic River from Lister's Boathouse above the Great Falls. Finally, on June 6, 1878, Holland successfully completed two runs during which the boat was totally submerged at a depth of twelve feet and traveled at the speed of three and a half miles per hour. The maximum submergence time was about one hour.

This success encouraged Holland and his financial backers to build a larger boat, one that had fittings for armaments. In the interest of secrecy, Holland removed the engine and other machinery from Boat #1 and scuttled the hull in 14 feet of water just above the Spruce Street bridge. There it lay at the bottom of the river until 1927 when it was located, minus its turret, by a group of Paterson citizens. It was successfully raised and presented to the Paterson Museum.

Bill Maloney who has a web page on these subs states. If you search the internet, you will also find 2 sites devoted to Hoagie Sandwich Recipes who tell us otherwise. One says that the sub was stripped of usable items and scuttled as it was cheaper than the cost of hauling it out and storing it. The other states that the sub promptly sank on it's first trial run and there it remained. When the sub was recovered in 1927 and the owner of a sandwich shop serving tubular shaped sandwiches remarked "It looks like the sandwich I sell at my store". He then began calling his sandwiches "Submarine Sandwiches".

Considering that, John Holland must also be the father of the Modern Submarine Sandwich.

Hey, I read it on the internet! It MUST be true!


I expected this man to be buried at Groton Ct or some similar Navy location but as he was a civilian here he is. Most markers of this time if they were not the grand obelisks or larger stone markers were flat and are almost buried in the ground now. Sub vets put this over his flat marker. A fitting tribute. Holy Sepulcher Cemetery Totowa NJ along the Passaic river under 5 minutes away from the museum that holds his creations if that.


The PAtterson museum is full of great exhibits ...Locomotives were built here , colt firearms had his factory here. It was the engine of american manufacturing. There are some aviation exhibits liked to Lindberg.


Home of Lou Costello There is a statue to him in another part of the city but we were advised not to go there as it was getting late when we left. Ok during the day but get out of town at night .

Last edited:


Airman 1st Class
Pg 2 Patterson museum

Well worth a visit but parking is a little tough ...... NOt much at the park visitor center.

The rest of the museum is really good. The history of the area before white settlement , industrialization, 10,000 Locomotives were built in Patterson before production ended, including one in the picture of the meeting of the transcontinental railroad laying of the golden spike. Silk was a major industry for a time. The nearby sports stadium was one of the finest of its day. Colt made his guns in Patterson and the collection here is the most complete of Patterson produce guns anywhere. A tribute to native son Lou Costello of the comedy team of Abbot and Costello is here. Remember who's on first gag?. A lot here. Worth a visit. Nice area, I saw nothing sketchy about it though I read some reviews making claims otherwise. Perhaps in the late evening like many parks and industrial areas it can be a problem.​
Last edited:


Oct 12, 2011
I'm not sure what bacon means

It means your post was awesome and should be relished when received, just like real bacon :D If you hover the mouse over the thumbs up Like icon you get a list of things to choose. Bacon is the first, naturally.

By the way, I'm enjoying your NJ museum posts, man. I'll probably never get to these places, so they are interesting to see.


Airman 1st Class
I'd like to see people post their home states little known sites to visit with military history, what ever the period or type . Since being made surplus to requirements over 6 years ago I've taken more side road trips, with and with out my son so I've seen a lot in the state.

Users who are viewing this thread